- Associated Press - Monday, October 3, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Safety Council is beginning construction on a nearly 23,500-square-foot, hands-on heavy equipment safety training facility in Bismarck.

The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2dDFnKv ) reported that until now, companies have had to send workers to other states, such as Texas, for such training.

Chuck Clairmont, the council’s executive director, said the process of developing the facility began about four years ago when it posed the question to its oil company, contractor and utility company clients, “What would help you?”

“This is a chance for us to bring training that’s not currently available here,” Clairmont said.

More than 20 donors have contributed to what will be a $6 million facility located near the Bismarck State College campus.

Clairmont said the location of the facility will also offer the opportunity to work with students.

According to Clairmont research shows using the teaching method “blended learning,” a method that uses both classroom and hands-on exercises can help students with retention.

Lynae Hanson, assistant executive director of the council said while the college already has safety training courses available to students, the North Dakota Safety Council could help in preparing the trainees before obtaining a job.

The facility will include a heavy equipment arena to train workers using scaffolds, trenchers, cranes, scissor lifts and more. Much of the training will begin outside, but the organization aims to build a 5,000-square-foot indoor arena for year-round equipment training. There will also be a 26-foot tower for falls and confined space training as well as a 30-station computer lab for online training.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility is scheduled Tuesday.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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